What Is An Ectopic Pregnancy? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Ectopic Pregnancy - Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

A fertilized egg usually implants in your uterus, but this is not the case with everyone. Have you ever seen anyone concerned about an ectopic pregnancy? Have you ever wondered what an ectopic pregnancy is? Ectopic pregnancy is a distressing condition where an embryo implants outside of a woman’s uterus. The fallopian tube is the most common spot where a fertilized egg gets implanted on mostly.

Many studies have shown that only the uterus is meant to hold the pregnancy and provide for the baby. When you diagnose that the fetus is growing outside the designated cavity, then you are supposed to realize that the pregnancy is not going to last any longer.

This article will cover all aspects of an ectopic pregnancy, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

What Is An Ectopic Pregnancy? 

An ectopic pregnancy is a common condition in which a pregnancy happens outside of your uterus. Normally, an egg is supposed to implant into the uterus, but in this case, it gets stuck somewhere in the middle. It mainly occurs in your fallopian tube, a tube that connects your ovaries and uterus.

While a fallopian tube is only meant to act as a pathway for sperm to reach the eggs, it is impossible for it to hold a fetus. Therefore, we often consider an ectopic pregnancy as a concerning condition and should be treated immediately when diagnosed. 

Ectopic Pregnancy

In some rare cases, ectopic pregnancies might even occur in your cervix or ovary. These are locations that cannot support fetal growth and hence, ectopic pregnancies often end up in abortions. It is because only your uterus has the capacity to carry a pregnancy. Often, ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed soon, but if it is delayed, it might lead to ruptured fallopian tubes.

This condition is commonly called ruptured ectopic pregnancy and it is deadly. Initially, ruptured pregnancies cause infection and excessive bleeding. But, it leads to death if not treated immediately. But, what actually leads to this condition? 

Causes Of An Ectopic Pregnancy

To be precise, any condition that affects the normal movement of eggs through the fallopian tubes is considered to be the cause of an ectopic pregnancy as when an egg slows down, it will fail to reach the destination, which is the uterus, instead, it settles in one of the structures along the way.

The reason could be varied including:

  • An irregularly-shaped fallopian tube 
  • Damaged fallopian tube 
  • Inflammation or adhesions formed as a result of a former pelvic surgery

Symptoms Of An Ectopic Pregnancy

During the initial stages of an ectopic pregnancy, you will not be able to differentiate it from a normal pregnancy as the early symptoms are quite similar. However, as time passes, you will experience additional symptoms that will make you realize the trouble happening inside you.

The following are the common symptoms of ectopic pregnancy: 

Although these are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, it becomes more severe than this when your fallopian tube ruptures or during a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

The following are the symptoms of ruptured ectopic pregnancy: 

  • Excessive bleeding 
  • Bowel Problems
  • Lowered blood pressure 
  • Fainting 

Ruptured ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency and the symptoms are severe that anyone experiencing it will feel too much burdened. When any of these symptoms are noticed, you should immediately get to the hospital to receive emergency treatment, if not, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy can even take your life. 

Who Are More Prone To An Ectopic Pregnancy? 

Although an ectopic pregnancy can happen to anyone, there are women who are at high risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

The following are the risk factors that have the potential to increase your chance of developing the condition: 

  • Surgery of any structures in the pelvic area, especially the fallopian tube 
  • A former case of an ectopic pregnancy 
  • Infertility 
  • Scar tissue in the fallopian tubes, cervix, or ovaries 
  • Infection in the pelvic region 
  • IVF pregnancy 
  • A history of smoking 
  • Endometriosis 
  • Sexually transmitted disease 
  • Getting pregnant while the vagina is inserted with any intrauterine devices
  • Pregnancy after tubal ligation

These are the common causes of ectopic pregnancy.

You may not be able to detect the mistake at first, but in the case of tubal ligation or pregnancy after the insertion of an intrauterine device, it is easy for you to understand the trouble the moment you test positive for pregnancy. So, make sure you get immediate medical assistance in these cases. Other than the above-mentioned risks, women who are aged 35 or more are also at high risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

This is the reason why doctors recommend not delaying your pregnancy after your 30s. 

Read More:-  Bleeding After IVF: How To Deal With It?

Diagnosis Of An Ectopic Pregnancy 

An ectopic pregnancy cannot be self-diagnosed as it can only be found after a prenatal appointment with your doctor. When you miss your periods, all you can do is confirm your pregnancy with the help of a pregnancy kit. It only tells your pregnancy status and not where the embryo is placed.

However, a medical practitioner can suspect an ectopic pregnancy after he examines the results of the following tests: 

  • An ultrasound exam 
  • A blood test
  • A urine test 

In case of emergency, where your provider suspects a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, you will be asked to get another test named culdocentesis. Once the diagnosis is completed, you will be immediately directed to a suitable treatment plan. 

Treatment Options Available For An Ectopic Pregnancy 

There are two possible treatment options for the condition and they are as follows: 

  1. Medication– Methotrexate is a medication that is capable of stopping the embryo from further development. It is injectable, but will not be of use in case of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. 
  2. Surgery– Surgery is an emergency treatment that is only recommended when you are at high risk of a rupture. These are performed under anesthesia by making multiple small adhesions in your abdomen. 

Read More:- Infertility After Abortion – Signs Of Infection After Abortion!


Pregnancy is not always a comfortable journey. While it is easy for a class of women, it is equally hard for the rest of them. Understanding the condition and taking immediate actions are recommended in case of ectopic pregnancies that are capable of taking your life. Prevention is nearly impossible in this case and therefore, you should always be alert to such conditions. 


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